As the lights dimmed over a packed Chapel, the atmosphere was charged with anticipation of what was to come at the Bramdean Carol Service. During the service, all the Chapel and Junior choirs provided a seasonal contribution, to t with di erent parts of the Christmas story.
The Chapel Choir set the scene of the occasion by singing the plainsong ‘I Look from Afar’, by candlelight, from various locations in the Chapel. Then, with a return to an English Cathedral tradition, a chorister sang the first verse of ‘Once in Royal David’s City’, followed by the organ and the congregation joining in, and the Chapel Choir processing down the Nave - all quite an awe-inspiring sight and sound.
After the ‘Welcome’ and Bidding Prayer, there was a series of traditional Bible readings, interspersed with congregational carols and choir items, including a wide range of old and new Christmas music.
Chapel Choir sang the beautiful ‘Ave Maria’ by Lindley to ‘set the scene’ of the Christmas story. The Junior Choir illustrated the journey to Bethlehem and the crib scene by singing the well- known ‘Little Donkey’ and ‘Away in a Manger’.
The Chapel Choir gave a beautiful rendition of the ethereal ‘The Three Kings’ by Cornelius, with the baritone solo sung by a local professional.
Before the final congregational carol, Chapel Choir gave a wonderfully uplifting account of ‘Joy to the World’, proclaiming and celebrating the arrival of the Christchild. Following the ‘electric’ moment, as the piece finished, the organ then thundered out for the final congregational carol ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’.
The service was a magnificent, and spiritually enriching occasion, and for many, signalled the real beginning of Christmas.